Diets For a New Year

What is the difference between the ketogenic, paleo, and plant based diets? Well, they all provide three different approaches to eating and health. 


Each method of eating focuses on emphasizing or eliminating various food groups in order to reach a desired goal. For most people that goal is weight loss, but these diets impact so much more than just the number on your scale.


The ketogenic diet, or keto diet for short, focuses on decreasing carbohydrate (carb) intake while increasing fat intake and maintaining moderate protein intake. By consuming low levels of carbs your body enters a state of ketosis, where your body uses its own fat for fuel. 


This diet, in theory, allows for quick weight loss, however, it is not recommended to continue this diet for long periods of time (longer than 3-6 months) due to ketone bodies produced during the ketosis state which can lead to prolonged health risks.


The paleo diet focuses on eating whole foods while eliminating processed foods that contain refined sugar, grains, trans fat, salt, or other added chemicals. Fresh fruits and vegetables are consumed in excess whereas grains and processed foods are limited or eliminated completely. 


This diet provides many health benefits such as normalization of blood glucose and insulin production, however, can be difficult to follow long term due to the diet being so limited and restrictive.


The plant based diet focuses on consuming vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and beans and lentils. Foods that are excluded or limited (depending on how you define plant based) include dairy, meat and poultry, and processed meats. 


This method focuses on increasing intake of fruits and vegetables while decreasing intake of grains and meat. Fruits and vegetables contain less calories, sodium, sugar and fat than processed foods; they are more nutrient dense and are full of vitamins and minerals. There are many health benefits and few downsides for this method of eating. 


What does this mean for you? Well, each diet is unique just like our bodies. The right diet and overall lifestyle for you may be different than for your friend or co-worker. It is important to listen to your body and fuel it with foods that allow you to perform at your best.